1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vendôme
VENDÔME, a town of north-central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Loir-et-Cher, 22 m. N.W. of Blois by rail. Pop. (1906) town, 7381; commune, 9804. Vendôme is situated on the Loir, which here divides into numerous arms intersecting the town. On the south it is overlooked by an eminence on which stand ruins of the castle of the counts of Vendôme, dating in part to the nth century. The abbey-church of the Trinity (12th to 15th century) has a fine façade in the florid Gothic style. The belfry, surmounted by a stone steeple, stands isolated in front of the church; it belongs to the middle of the 12th century, and is one of the finest examples of Transition architecture. Abbey buildings of various periods lie round the church. The church of La Madeleine (15th century) is surmounted by a stone spire, an indifferent imitation of that of the abbey. The fine tower of St Martin (16th century) is all that remains of the church of that name. The town hall occupies the old gate of St George; its river front is composed of two large crenelated and machicolated towers, connected by a pavilion. The ancient hospital of St Jacques afterwards became college of the Oratorians, and now serves as a lycée for boys; the charming chapel, dating from the 15th century, in the most florid Gothic style, is preserved. The town has a well-known archaeological and scientific society, and possesses a library with more than three hundred MSS., and a museum, mostly archaeological, in front of which stands a statue of the poet Ronsard. There is also a statue of Marshal Rochambeau, born at Vendôme in 1725. There are some interesting houses of the 15th and 16th centuries. Vendôme has a sub-prefecture and a tribunal of first instance. The river supplies motive power to flouMnills, and the town manufactures gloves, paper and carved mouldings; and carries on tanning and nursery-gardening together with trade in butter and cheese.
Vendôme (Vindocinum) appears originally to have been a Gallic oppidum, replaced later by a feudal castle, around which the modern town arose. Christianity was introduced by St Bienheuré in the 5th century, and the important abbey of the Trinity (which claimed to possess a tear shed by Christ at the tomb of Lazarus) was founded about 1030. When the reign of the Capetian dynasty began, Vendôme was the chief town of a countship belonging to Bouchard, called "the Venerable," who died in the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés in 1007. The succession passed by various marriages to the houses of Nevers, Preuilly and Montoire. Bouchard VII., count of Vendôme and Castres (d. c. 1374), left as his heiress his sister Catherine, the wife of John of Bourbon, count of la Marche. The countship of Vendôme was raised to the rank of a duchy and a peerage of France for Charles of Bourbon (1515); his son Anthony of Bourbon, king of Navarre, was the father of Henry IV., who gave the duchy of Venddme in 1598 to his natural son Caesar (1594—1665). Caesar, duke of Vendôme, took part in the disturbances which went on in France under the government of Richelieu and of Mazarin, and had as his sons Louis, duke of Vendôme (1612—1669), who married a niece of Mazarin, and Francis; duke of Beaufort. The last of the family in the male line (1645—1712) was Louis XIV.'s famous general, Louis Joseph, duke of Vendôme (q.v.). The title of duke of Vendôme is now borne by Prince Emmanuel of Orleans, son of the duke of Alençon.
See J. de Pétigny, Histoire archéologique du Vendômes (2nd ed., 1882).